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Investing in the Future with SlowMoney

The User's Profile Chris Martenson May 24, 2010
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I have been slow to throw my hat into the ring with organizations dedicated to bringing intelligent responses to our predicament. The reason is that I have a list of requirements that have to be met:

  • The proposed actions have to address the real challenges that we face.
  • The organization has to be strictly non-partisan and neutral or silent on a wide range of belief-centered positions.

I know that doesn’t seem like a very long list of requirements, but it turns out that it eliminates an enormous number of organizations and individuals from consideration as affiliate partners.

On the first requirement, there are a lot of efforts out there that are either in denial about the actual predicament in which we find ourselves or are approaching solutions in a socially-cautious, status-quo fashion.  Their incremental efforts run a very high risk of being in the category of ‘too little, too late,‘ and are therefore largely ineffective, even if energetic and well-meaning.  Even if I am glad they exist and wish them well, I simply have a hard time getting excited by efforts that, in my opinion, are badly overmatched by the pace and scope of the changes that are coming.

On the second requirement, it is my very strongest conviction that we are all in this together, that everyone has something to offer or contribute, and that we cannot afford to try and tackle the future as a splintered series of fractious mobs.  While many groups do fine work from within the confines of their partisan or otherwise exclusionary framework, I cannot afford to align with any of them, because doing so may limit my ability to reach as many people as I can.  It would be a shame for someone to ignore the Crash Course because it was seen as being authored by someone who “supports those people.”  When you get right down to it, the challenges we face transcend any and all social boundaries.  Or at least they should.

I want to tell you about Slow Money, a new non-profit organization and movement that more than meets my stringent requirements (both of them), is seeking a non-status-quo solution, and promises to do great things in the arena of local food production; an area of very strong interest on my part.  One of their prime goals is to get 1,000,000 individuals to commit to investing 1% of their money into local food opportunities within 50 miles of their homes.  Awesome.

I have donated free advertising to Slow Money on this website, which non-members will see (members do not see any advertising at all), and I will be speaking at their upcoming national gathering at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday June 10th at the gorgeous Shelburne Farms facility in VT, which you can find out more about by clicking this link.

The Slow Money Principles, which I have signed (and you can sign here):

In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Principles:

  1. We must bring money back down to earth.
  2. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down — not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.
  3. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.
  4. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.
  5. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.
  6. Paul Newman said, “I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:
  • What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
  • What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?
  • What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

Any organization that is serious about food production but does not specifically address soil building and fertility does not truly appreciate the situation.  SlowMoney gets it, and that’s one of the prime reasons I am so interested in helping out this nascent but fast-growing organization.

Our food system needs fixing, for reasons ranging from the fact that Peak Oil is real, to the idea that big agri-farming is unsustainable, to the reality that it is delivering food that is often nutritionally substandard and sometimes downright frightening.

I’ve spent a few hours on the phone with both the founder and director, and they are committed, connected, and bring impressive credentials and past accomplishments to the table.  I look forward to meeting them in person and spending more time figuring out who they are and how I can help.

If you are interested in attending the national gathering, I would love to see you there.  They’ve got a smashing good line-up of speakers and I am quite sure that it will be an enormously invigorating experience.

At any rate, I wanted to explain why the Slow Money ads have been appearing on the site, describe my connection to them, and explain why I’ve decided to openly support their cause.  It’s a good one and is being done the right way. 

Consider my hat tossed. 

P.S.  If you attend the gathering in June, be sure to introduce yourself to me.